Surgical management of postamputation orthopedic disease (PAOD) in canine amputees has rarely been documented, and no reports describing outcome of stifle surgery in canine amputees are available.
The objective of this multisite retrospective case series was to describe cases and evaluate satisfaction with and outcome of postamputation orthopedic surgery in canine amputees.
Data was obtained through medical records and owner survey responses; data included signalment, amputation cause, diagnosis, surgical treatment, timeframes, and outcome assessment. Outcome was categorized as acceptable or unacceptable, and complications were classified as catastrophic, major, or minor. Eleven thoracic limb amputees and 6 pelvic limb amputees with surgically treated PAOD were identified. Surgically treated PAOD was reported at a median of 9.7 months (range 0.5-110 months) after amputation. All 17 amputees were treated for pelvic limb disease, predominantly for cranial cruciate ligament disease that occurred in 11 of 17 dogs.
Major complications following orthopedic surgeries performed in 3 thoracic limb amputees consisted of infection (n = 2) and uncontrolled pain (n = 1). No major complications were reported following orthopedic surgeries performed in pelvic limb amputees. Acceptable mid-to-long-term outcome was achieved in 16 of the 17 canine amputees. Surgical treatment of pelvic limb disease did not appear to be associated with a high number of major complications in this case series.
These findings suggest that orthopedic surgery, specifically stifle surgery, in canine amputees might be considered a feasible treatment option. Although there are inherent methodological limitations of retrospective studies and owner surveys, our case series provides new information that might help guide surgical treatment decisions in canine amputees suffering from orthopedic disease. Prospective studies using objective outcome measures evaluating surgical management of PAOD are necessary to confirm the provided information.